The Gift of Rest

I’m going to admit straight away that rest is a challenging topic for me.  I simply don’t allow myself to rest without having a reason or excuse.  Not that this means I spend every moment in action.  In fact, I often spend my time in limbo- in neither action nor rest.  Puttering.  Half-consciously playing games or browsing websites, moving things from one room to another, hopping from one little non-activity to the next.  My talent at avoiding going to bed when I’m tired rivals any toddler’s (and my own children’s, though they do seem to have inherited this skill).  I’ll literally sit doing something until I’m too tired to stop and go to bed.

But rest is an incredibly important gift to give ourselves.  It is at any time- however particularly any time we’re challenging ourselves to develop new habits, practices and thoughts.  Creating new neural pathways is exhausting.  Literally.  Physically.  Mentally.  Over the past year and a half I have experienced this deeply.  It comes down to the fact that when we’re well rested we feel better.  When we’re well rested our minds and bodies are stronger and more flexible and adaptable.  When we’re well rested challenges aren’t as challenging.  Rest takes the edges off.  Rest revives us.  Rest restores.

Our bodies tell us exactly how much rest we need.  And we ignore them.  Often when given the choice between resting and accomplishing something (or taking those non-action actions) we don’t choose rest.  We tell ourselves that the dishes need to be done, or the laundry can’t wait, or that our child will have lifelong emotional scars if we say no to the 274th request of the day (even a temporary no), or that while the baby is napping is the only time we can get anything done- but ultimately the choice is ours to make.  Listen to your body and rest?  Or ignore it and plug on.

As we finish this year, I am offering you the opportunity to give yourself this gift.  Rest.  Hear your body.  Maybe ignore your mind for once.  Find a really comfy spot- your sofa, a cushiony chair, your bed- and take some time when your body tells you to take it.  Rest.  Do nothing.  If this is too out there for you, plan to allow yourself extra sleep.  Go to bed a few hours earlier than normal, or refuse to set an alarm.  Both if possible.  Discover what it feels like to be well rested.  And let yourself get used to it.

Until next year,

Lesley

ps.  I actually had to make myself take a 30 minute rest to even write this- I was feeling so out of tune with rest after a good week of doing, doing, doing.  I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.  And please share with anyone you know who needs the gift of rest!

 

Advertisements

3 Responses to “The Gift of Rest”

  1. Not waiting for the comfy chair. Putting my head down here to rest. thanks for the suggestion. My eyes said yes the minute you invited.

  2. Enjoy, Rebecca! Hooray for the rest non-resistant!

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: